Mass Effect: Andromeda has been out for a little over a week now. I have been doing my best to play as much as possible so that I can write this impressions post. Having said that, a impressions post is all that I will be writing, as I have done something that I have not done in over ten years. I returned a game. Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts.
The first disappointing aspect of Mass Effect: Andromeda is literally at very beginning of the game; the character creator. For a game that puts so much emphasis on story, cutscenes, and dialogue, I would expect so much more from the character creator. Like most games, Bioware has provided templates for people to use as a base for their character. Unlike most games, however, each template can only be adjusted slightly. How little control the player actually has in building their character is absurd, and incredibly disappointing.
Even worse than being restricted by the character templates, are the templates themselves. Almost all of them either look insane, gross, or both. Meaning that, if you are looking for a character that looks halfway decent, you are going to be even more limited to the kind of character you can make. I don’t even understand how it is so bad. Bioware has plenty of experience building character creators, how could they have thought this would be acceptable?
But as annoying and frustrating those issues are, they are all still cosmetic. While they obviously affect the game experience on a whole, I don’t believe they would be the difference between a good game and a bad game. Unfortunately, Andromeda’s problems don't end at cosmetic issues. The gameplay itself has been nothing short of uninspired and frustrating.
When a mission is selected, a quest marker helps guide the player around. And that is what the game felt like, just chasing those orange circle symbols. The areas of the game lack any sort of creativity or cohesion to the point that following a marker is sometimes the only way to get to where you need to go. For one mission, my game actually glitched and wouldn't display the quest marker for me to follow. That resulted in me running around a structure trying to find my way in for over 20 minutes. These sort of instances really show how restricted the worlds are.
The problem with the gameplay itself is what really kills it for me, and it is why I have little faith that Bioware can fix the game. I’m sure the animations can be touched up, and they could even go in and fix the character creator, although I doubt they will. But Mass Effect: Andromeda’s biggest problems aren't the graphics, or the animations, or the character creator. Mass Effect: Andromeda suffers from a core gameplay problem that simply can’t be patched.
Mass Effect: Andromeda was one of my most anticipated games of this generation. And I was still excited about the game despite what I had been hearing about the animations. Animations are something that I can look past. But when the entire game is riddled with horrible gameplay decisions, bugs, and frustrating menus/ cutscenes, it becomes a chore to even play it.
So that is why I made the decision to return the game. Something that I have never done before in my adult life. Like I said, I could not have been more excited about this game, but the product has been an incredible disappointment. It is nothing short of baffling that Bioware would even consider releasing a product of this low quality.